About HEY WORDY, LLC
Hey Wordy, LLC is a privately-held company that creates, develops, and markets properties in television, film, music, publishing and digital media.
The Company’s goal is to fundamentally improve early education by offering unique intellectual properties which excite and inspire children to become lifelong learners.
The Company’s strategy is to build global brand awareness by reaching and engaging children via long- and short-form television, the Internet and mobile devices.
Hey Wordy, LLC is located in Los Angeles, California.
Management & Creative Team
Hey Wordy, LLC has assembled a stellar executive team of accomplished and well-respected professionals covering the key areas of film and television production, network television, entertainment marketing, product licensing and merchandising, publishing, animation, post-production and music.
Creator & Star
David Burke, raised in a household where 7 languages were spoken, is currently revolutionizing language learning worldwide. He is the recipient of the Parent Teacher Council Award and the author of over 60 language books used by UCLA, NYU, Boston University, the US State Department, and more, selling more than a million copies. He is considered the go-to expert on cultural do’s and don’ts, helping corporations and travelers avoid embarrassing faux pas.
Burke has been a popular fixture on Voice of America TV & Radio (the US Government’s official broadcast arm, reaching 250 million people in 43 languages), teaching American idioms and slang to longtime followers, including to the writers of The Simpsons to give Bart his “coolness.” He was chosen by the Home Shopping Network’s CEO to sell its children’s product line on camera and has appeared on national TV networks and programs such as CNN, BBC, CBS, NBC, and Home & Family.
A student of concert piano, music theory, linguistics, telecommunications, and child psychology, Burke combines his skills in composing, orchestrating, character voices, and languages in the Hey Wordy! Series.
Chief Production & Licensing Officer
Emmy Award-winner Howard Kazanjian is responsible for the execution of strategies in all areas of production and licensing. As the Vice President of Lucasfilm from 1977 to 1985, Kazanjian oversaw the day-to-day operations of the company as well as the licensing and merchandising juggernaut of the Star Wars franchise. He has produced some of the largest Hollywood blockbusters of all time, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. His films have generated over $2.5 billion dollars worldwide at the box office while costing $160 million to produce – one of the highest profit ratios in film history. He has worked alongside Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Chief Operations Officer
Mr. Harvey oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations and provides strategic guidance for implementation of the Company’s long-range vision. A successful business executive, music and television producer, and writer with four decades of experience across the entertainment industry, Harvey has worked with a diverse group of celebrities such as Dr. Dre, Fleetwood Mac, the Pointer Sisters, B.B. King, Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Rue McClanahan, and Stefanie Powers. He is currently developing the feature film action thriller Dragonfyre and the animated feature Spaceship Betty.
Chief Marketing Officer
Mr. Tropper oversees marketing, distribution and business development for the Company. As a marketing executive at Warner Bros., he was a member of the original team that built and launched the WB’s revolutionary high-tech network of over 100 affiliate stations across the country. He also handled some of the WB Television Network’s most successful series, including Aaron Spelling’s 7th Heaven, The Jamie Foxx Show, and J.J. Abrams’ Felicity. Tropper has written, produced, and directed high-profile national TV campaigns for the launch of the hit series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Dawson’s Creek, Friends, Pokémon the global re-branding of Seinfeld. He was Executive Producer of New Line’s 2009 hit film My Sister’s Keeper starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, and Alec Baldwin, which garnered much critical acclaim while earning $100 million.
Executive Educational Advisor
Kathleen Leos is the founder of the Education Neuroscience Foundation and CEO of the Global Institute LLC. Ms. Leos and the ENF team of experts guide the Company to ensure "Hey Wordy!" programs and products meet the highest educational entertainment standards based on the new field of education neuroscience. Ms. Leos was appointed by the President of the United States to serve as the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Education (2002-2008). In that role, she directed the implementation of Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. She was also the principal advisor to the Secretaries of Education on all matters related to multi-language learners in US public, private, and charter schools. Ms. Leos is a board member of the MIND Institute commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1995 Altrusa International Community Service Award in which her work with language development and reading for inner city populations was selected out of 200 nominations received worldwide.
VP of Creative
Cynthia Ferrell is the Company’s nexus of content, interweaving music-filled storytelling with neuroscience, and linking teams of animators, educators, language consultants and funders to drive innovative, effective children’s programming. An expert at translating creative vision into strategic corporate partnerships, she secured multimillion-dollar cross-promotional campaigns for Fox Theatricals. She also won millions in sponsored research funding for Pepperdine University, where she taught as an adjunct professor of Humanities. A creative force in her own right, Ferrell is an international award-winning novelist, playwright and librettist. Her original works have been performed and composed by Grammy, Tony, Emmy, Oscar, and Berlin Opera prize-winners from around the globe.
Lee Casey has worked in the travel industry as a senior executive in world inflight entertainment for over two decades. She has been tasked to bring the "Hey Wordy!" programming to inflight Content Service Providers (CSP) for broadcast on their channels as a way to keep kids entertained during overseas flights as well as teach them words of greetings and friendship of their country of destination. Ms. Casey has relationships with over 90 airlines, over 100 cruise lines, and long-time connections with major airports around the world through her years as a member of the Airport Council International. She is also part of the World Travel and Tourism Council whose membership includes 200 CEO's, Chairpersons, and Presidents of world-leading travel and tourism companies from all geographies and industries.
Sheryl Olinsky Borg has held senior positions at top international publishing companies for her entire 20+ year career. As Publishing Director of Langenscheidt’s Berlitz Publishing imprint, Ms. Olinsky Borg led the development of the company’s most successful language series, Hide This Book and 601 Verbs. As Berlitz Language Schools Editorial Director she led the development of Berlitz’s global English language curriculum as well as the first For Dummies language titles. Ms. Olinsky Borg oversaw translations of the most-trusted medical reference worldwide, The Merck Manual. At Cambridge University Press, she directed the academic English as a Second Language publishing program. She holds a BA in Linguistics from New York University and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Hunter College-CUNY.
VP of Publishing
Kim Hendrickson’s interest in children's books and programming began when she managed the only children's bookstore in NYC years ago. From there she worked for a variety of publishers: Bantam, Doubleday, Dell and finally John Wiley & Sons for over 30 years as a sales director. Those publishers immersed her in children's programs and the added culinary publishing programs gave way to Hendrickson graduating from the French Culinary Institute in Pastry Technique in mid-career. In her free time, she taught cooking classes, catered, and eventually published 3 cookbooks between 2007-2010. The mix of baking and publishing has become the platform for a soon-to-be-completed children's cookbook series using the Hey Wordy! characters to have fun preparing delicious foods while using learning basic skills in the process.